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Southern Command Intelligence Officer Faces Bribery, Extortion Charges

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Jose Emmanuel Torres (Source: Miami-Dade Corrections)

Jose Emmanuel Torres (Source: Miami-Dade Corrections)

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South Florida Crime

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) — A U.S. Marine intelligence specialist assigned to the Miami-based Southern Command is facing federal bribery and extortion charges.

Thirty seven year old Jose Emmanuel Torres, of Cooper City, was arrested after he reportedly accepted a duffel bag contain $250,000 in drug-related money from a confidential informant.

Torres worked with agents from Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to collect intelligence regarding persons who were allegedly involved in terrorism and drug trafficking.

According to federal prosecutors in August 2013 Torres threatened to have a confidential informant arrested on immigration violations.

The following month, Torres complained to the informant that he wasn’t making enough money and told said he wanted $10,000 or he would have him arrested on immigration charges.

The informant contacted the FBI who recorded text messages, phone calls and Skype sessions in which Torres continued to ask for the $10,000 and promised the informant that they would not go back to jail even if he [Torres] had to put his “neck on the line.”

In November 2013 the informant, under the supervision of law enforcement agents, paid Torres $6,000 in order for Torres to use his influence with the informant’s immigration proceedings.

Prosecutors said after that Torres began asking if the informant had any drug trafficking contacts in Costa Rica and Miami because he [Torres] was looking to conduct a robbery of a delivery of drug money or identify a stash house where drug money was stored.

Ultimately, under the direction of law enforcement agents, the informant told Torres that there was an opportunity to steal half a million dollars in drug money that was being transported in a car, according to prosecutors. The informant reportedly told Torres that he needed to get a DEA seizure form so that it looked like the money was legally seized. If Torres could get the DEA receipt, the informant allegedly promised him half – $250,000.

On January 31, 2014, the informant called Torres to tell him that the job was done and arranged a meeting to give him his money. Later that day, they met in a parking lot in Dania Beach where the informant handed over a duffel bag containing $250,000 of alleged drug proceeds. Torres was arrested after taking possession of the duffel bag.

If convicted, Torres faces a maximum of 40 years in prison if convicted.

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